Joe Manchin, a Democrat Senator from West Virginia, broke away from the other Democrats by joining calls that reject Biden’s executive orders regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. Manchin, who serves as the Chairman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committees, demonstrated concerns about the job losses that could result from pausing pipeline construction.
In a letter to Biden, Manchin argued that pipelines are one of the safest means of transporting natural gas and oil resources, and “they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”
Manchin then requested for Biden to reconsider his position on the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as “take into account the potential impacts of any further action [on pipelines] to safety, jobs and energy security.”
West Virginia has an enormous number of jobs related to the fossil fuel industry, and the state is one of the original proponents of approving the Keystone XL pipeline, with efforts tracing back to 2012. While the Obama administration failed to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trump administration approved the Keystone XL pipeline via executive order in early 2020. Consequently, Manchin has urged Biden to support the construction of gas and oil pipelines, referencing the need for well-paid American jobs.
Manchin also noted that various developments within “the responsible energy infrastructure” also support the key message of Biden’s Campaign: “Build Back Better.” Biden can achieve this campaign promise, at least in part, through “keeping Americans working” while also reinforcing North American economic strength and energy security.
The majority of Democrats do not disagree with the president’s executive action regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, though Jon Tester, a Democrat Senator from Montana, has also expressed concerns regarding the Senate’s budget resolution debate.